Enviro Group Sues FDA for BPA Inaction

Enviro Group Sues FDA for BPA Inaction

Canned food - CC license by Flickr user timsnell

An environmental group has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for not taking action on bisphenol A (BPA) in the 18 months since the group filed a petition demanding BPA be banned in food packaging.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) turned in the petition to the EPA in October 2008, calling for BPA to be banned from packaging, containers and other items likely to be in contact with food, such as baby bottles, reusable water bottles, and the resin in metal and aluminum cans. Although BPA is found in numerous items, the main concern for human exposure to BPA is through products that touch food and leech BPA into food and drinks.

Since then the FDA has agreed with the National Toxicology Program that "some concern" exists about the effects of BPA on fetuses, infants and young children, and said it would work on further research on BPA while supporting industry efforts to replace or minimize BPA use. While companies quickly transitioned to BPA-free water bottles, there has been slower and less action on replacing BPA in the epoxy liners of metal cans.

The FDA also noted that due to federal law, it has little oversight of BPA, saying that banning specific uses of BPA could be a lengthy process and advocated for moving to a framework approach that would let it take quicker action on BPA.

The lawsuit from the NRDC, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, aims to force the FDA's hand. By law, the FDA was supposed to respond to the petition within 90 days, and must respond to it if the NRDC wins in court.

Some other countries and states in the U.S. (most recently France, Denmark and New York) have enacted bans of BPA, mainly in baby bottles, sippy cups and others items that children come into contact with. BPA has been linked to a wide range of health problems, including cancer, developmental and reproductive problems, diabetes, chromosome abnormalities and more.

Canned food - CC license by Flickr user timsnell